The Legend of SDCC

San Diego Comic Con, or SDCC as we know it, usually Mark’s the end of Convention season for me. For many others, this usually ends in September after PAX West or Dragon Con, I have never been to the latter.

SDCC has come to a close, I reflect back on how long and how priveledged I have been as a geek who has both side hustled in popcuture spaces to full on employed in the industry.

My first SDCC was pre-Twilight. Some people credit Iron Man and thr MCU, alas it was actually Twilight that changed the way SDCC was experience. Attendance swelled, badges sold out. And activations began popping up left and right, and then in 2010 came the marketing for Game of Thrones. It was never the same.

Frankly, I am glad. Every year come July I am reminded of how great we geeks have it now. We have millions of dollars spent in creating our fantasies and catering to our interests.

I am perfectly content to come back every year, network my ass off, enjoy my fandoms, and party at geek themed events with my friends.

Everyone does SDCC differently and I am glad. For me, having a badge is not important at all. I work in the industry, I dont need to buy anything because I will 1000% be preordering collectibles that are so expensive and I don’t want to carry them as I wait in line for outside activations.

I enjoy the experience. And if other people want to cosplay or camp out for HALL h, they’re living their geek truths. I am not hating, I think it all can exist to creat this wonderful thing we experience called SDCC.

I will however leave you with this knowledge as a veteran.

  1. You don’t need a badge to enjoy SDCC.
  2. You do however need to plan ahead and know that lines are generally a minimum of 2 hours, more if you’re only going Saturday.
  3. Sunblock. Deodorant. Water. Everyone needs these 3 things. Everyone. Theres 300k+ bodies in 80 degree heat, you need it honey!
  4. Your cell phone service will be ASS the closer you get to the Gaslamp District (the area where SDCC is located).
  5. Pre register for your parties. There are usually 3-4 every night from Wed – Sat, so always pre-register when you can.
  6. Enjoy yourself. Be yourself.
  7. Dont forget to check dates for next year and give your geeky sacrifice to the SDCC gods so you can get a better hotel or next year.

Til tomorrow Midgard,

Eye of the Beholder

It’s absolutely no secret that I love to take photos.
Whether they’re of myself, my friends, my cats, or whatever catches my eye… I love taking photos.

I get questions from time to time about what I’m using, how I’m editing, and what my overall vision is when taking photos. So I’ve created a breakdown of how I go about getting my photos.

I am not that into gear, but I am also not NOT into gear. I have a lot of cameras. They’re not super high-end cameras, as photography is my hobby and not my profession. But I do like to have options when taking photos.

I currently only own those 4 cameras.
The one I use the most is 100% my smart phone. Camera technology on smartphones have come an incredibly long way in a short amount of time. Everytime I upgrade, I heavily research the cameras on potential phones.

Everyone or almost everyone, knows about the Rule of Thirds.
If you don’t know, you’ve probably seen the 9-rectangle grid that pops up when you upload a photo to Instagram and resize it.

The original photo above has me centered, albeit above the first line (which is great). However because of my placement it makes me compete with the flower in front.
The second image is cropped so my eyes are directly on the upper-left point of interest, and this changes the focus to me. The negative space in the second photo is also less overwhelming and helps balance the photo.

The basic idea is that you want your subject somewhere at or near the 4 intersection points in the 9-rectangles. The rule of thirds is the basic concept of composition. It helps create a more dynamic photo. But like everything, all rules can be broken. There are plenty of better photography blogs that elaborate on this idea.

Editing & Post Processing
Sometimes I go heavy, sometimes I go light on the editing. I think editing and toning photos really creates a quality to the image that best conveys what the artist is trying to get across.

That being said, I do a lot of my editing in various apps these days. Since many of my photos live specifically on the web or social media only, I don’t really need a giant file.

My current favourite editing apps are these:

Lightroom is my first choice because I can use my existing presets on my phone. Being able to sync these with my laptop, and import them properly into Photoshop is a.mega plus.

Meitu, Camera360, Snapspeed, and A Color Story all have very good editing controls. Each of them also have built in filters, beauty editing (with good controls), and some of them also have fun video filters. They’re great apps for editing on the phone.

The other apps are more gimmicky but serve as a way for me to do fun video or graphic edits to my existing finished photos. I always try to demo different types of apps to see if they’re useful to me, and I highly recommend it.

Pixaloop (below) is an app that allows me to create moving photos (cinemagraphs).

These are useful tips and tricks I have learned over the years. Many of these tips I have learned either through a lot of strong-googling and following professional photography websites, or from my own friends who are professional photographers.

I hope they helped and now you can up your photo game.

*All opinions on this post are my own. I am not sponsored or paid by any of these apps or their creators.

Til tomorrow Midgard,

State of the Selfie

I am a fan of instagram museums. There, I said it. I get a lot of enjoyment out of them, they serve a specific purpose: an accessible outlet for my desire to create stylized images.

Years ago I had to lug my dslr around and attempt to find good lighting or have olay gear and build my own sets or find locations… it was a lot more involved.

With the introduction of smartphones and let’s face it, their continual advancement in camera technology, it has become much easier to just create with my phone than being tons of gear.

I have visited so many different Instagram musuems at this point that I figured I might share a few pointers!

1. Usually cost between $25-50 for 60 to 90 minutes

This is a fairly reasonable price when you break it down by how many sets you get vs. Renting a full studio space with no prefabricated sets and convenience.

2. Not all Instagram museums are created equal

Instagram musuems vary in quality A LOT. Some are very good value and some are very poorly planned.

Every single Instagram musuem I have followed or visited have never put up their floor plan. It is very very hard to figure out exactly how many rooms or backgrounds they have or what all of them look like.

Many of these musuems rely on the end customer to figure it out. This often makes it incredibly hard to figure out what every option is or what the flow of the place actually looks like.

3. Lighting is usually Not Great

These photos are from the space. To their credit, they are the most well light and well organized Instagram Musuems I have ever been to. They are a rare beast.

Most of these places have very terrible overhead spotlighting. I have often struggled with lighting and ultimately purchased a cheap portable LED panel light off Amazon, which has served me incredibly well in these places.

4. Plan Your Looks

I usually plan at least 2 – 3 potential outfits to bring based on the musuem walls.

No, these places do not have changing rooms. Sometimes their bathrooms are only located at the front or end of the maze of rooms and you cant go back and forth (which is super lame).

I usually start off with the items that are hardest to put on and have interchangeable jackets or bottoms. Or I throw a jacket over and a long skirt.

This way I get 2 or 3 different looks. Many of the photos from my last few posts have all been from PARTY WITH.

5. Not all Instagram Museums are Equal

I have been to so many at this point, themed, paid, free, good, and crappy ones.

I highly suggest looking at how many rooms or sets their are. I have been to ones with 3 – 5 sets, and ones with 10-15 sets and how intricate or varied their sets are.

6. Go With Friends

I usually ask my friends to come with so we can help each other take photos. We have gotten very good at supporting each other and knowing how to capture a look or shot with in seconds to a minute. Because these are usually times places, you have to get through it it fast.

Usually this also means after the musuem you can go for brunch or early dinner!

7. The point is to have fun

I think people like to hate on IG musuems because so many people associate Instagram with vanity and self-centeredness but I think sometimes those people miss the point.

Theres nothing wrong with making an event out of enjoying yourself and liking how you look. Theres enough daily insecurity we go through, so dress up and have fun.

Til tomorrow Midgard,